UN rights commissioner calls on India to ease curfew in occupied Kashmir


Ahead of the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on India to immediately ease the curfew in occupied Kashmir. 

According to a statement issued by the Commissioner on the UNHRC website, Bachelet asked New Delhi to ensure the provision of basic services to the people of occupied Kashmir and respect the rights of those detained since August 5. 

On August 5, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had scrapped the constitutional autonomy of the occupied valley and imposed a military curfew in the area, imprisoning thousands of Kashmiri political leaders, rights activists, businessmen and other ordinary citizens. 

International media are now reporting widespread abuse and torture of these detainees by the Indian security forces as a humanitarian crisis looms in the valley. Some reports indicate that patients are even being denied life-saving medical care because of the shortage of medicines. 

The UN High Commissioner has expressed concern over the situation in the occupied valley and said that it was important that the people of Kashmir were consulted and engaged with regards to decisions that might affect their future. 

“I have appealed particularly to India to ease the current lockdowns or curfews; to ensure people’s access to basic services; and that all due process rights are respected for those who have been detained,” the statement read. 

“It is important that the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that have an impact on their future,” the Commissioner added. 

Earlier on Monday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had left for Geneva on a three-day visit to represent Pakistan at the 42nd session of United Nations Human Rights Council. 

According to reports, the 42nd session of the Council will tackle a wide range of issues, examining 90 reports presented by 25 rights experts from across the world, over a period of two weeks.